Select Committee on European Union Twenty-Ninth Report


1 July 2003

By the Select Committee appointed to consider European Union documents and other matters relating to the European Union.



COM(2002) 233 final Towards integrated management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union

Effective management of the EU's external borders is a matter of concern to all the Member States.

Enlargement will require radical changes to the arrangements for controlling the eastern border of the EU and place a heavy responsibility on the new Member States there.

There is a need for increased practical co-operation between Member States, and for financial arrangements to ensure that the Member States who are responsible for the longest borders do not bear a disproportionate burden.

The United Kingdom's participation in measures to strengthen external border controls is welcome. In the light of its present opt-out from Schengen, it would be wise for the Government to consider applying the common (Schengen) manual on checks at external borders.

The case for a centrally managed, multi-national European Border Guard has not been made.

New EU structures responsible for co-ordinating border control activities should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and data protection safeguards.

Clear legal rules applying to joint operations must be established, including rules on the powers of border guards and the remedies available to individuals when those powers are exceeded.

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